Foreign Relations and the Kurdish Eylul Revolution in Iraq 1961-1968


  • Hajar Bashir Sadoon Department of Political Systems and Public Policy, University of Duhok, Iraq-Kurdistan, Iraq



The Eylul Revolution in the Kurdish areas of Iraq represents a milestone in the history of the Kurdish national liberation movements. Apart from its intensity and wideness, this revolution enjoyed massive popular support from a wide array of forces in the Kurdish parts of Iraq. The Revolution furthermore also can be said to represent the first Kurdish armed movement that prioritized building foreign relations for the achievement of several interconnected foreign policy goals. After 60 years, some of those early relations or practices that emerged in those early days still impact the Kurdish foreign relations or the conduct of foreign policy by the current Kurdish de facto entity.

However, the field of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) has conveniently ignored to a great extent the role and influence of national liberation movements in the realm of foreign policy. Yet, a deeper look into the reality of international relations reveals the fact that not only national liberation movements can design and pursue foreign policy, but they also ought to pursue foreign policy and conduct foreign relations for the sake of continuing their military, political, and diplomatic struggle to achieve the goals of national liberation.

The Kurdish national liberation movement is the main case study of this research. This research adopts a descriptive analysis of the foreign policies of the Kurdish national liberation movement from 1961 with the outbreak of the first Kurdish national revolution in Iraq to 1968 with the assent of the Ba’ath party to power in Iraq. The focus on these early few years in the history of the Kurdish national liberation movement is not arbitrary. During these years, the Kurdish leadership represented by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (hereafter the KDP) systematically prioritized the building of foreign relations with other powers in pursuit of several foreign policy goals. In doing so, this research essentially aims to address the following questions: which states or organizations were targeted, and why, the aim of those foreign relations, and, more importantly, the instruments that were used to first build foreign relations, and subsequently to achieve the aims of the foreign relations of the Eylul Revolution. Through analysis of the foreign relations of the main case study of this research- the Kurdish national liberation movement- this research argues that not only the Kurdish national liberation movements could pursue foreign policy and conduct foreign relations, but they were also ought to build foreign relations for the achievement of their foreign goals in an ever-more connected international environment. Moreover, contrary to most contemporary literature which depicted the Kurds as objects of foreign policies of other states,[1] this research argues that the Kurds possessed some agency-albeit limited. In other words, the Kurds were subjects of history in the sense of being masters of their own future, rather than remaining an ‘object’ to be used in pursuance of the national interests of other powers




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How to Cite

Bashir Sadoon, H. (2023). Foreign Relations and the Kurdish Eylul Revolution in Iraq 1961-1968. Academic Journal of Nawroz University, 12(3), 197–212.